How to understand the complexity of product quality and the challenges in differentiating between organically and conventionally grown products—exemplified by fresh and heat-processed carrots (Daucus carota L.)

Organic Agriculture, Springer Nature, ISSN 1879-4246

Volume 6, 1, 2016

DOI:10.1007/s13165-015-0112-8, Dimensions: pub.1040293145,



  1. (1) Arable Crops Division, Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Reddalsveien 215, 4886, Grimstad, Norway
  2. (2) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  3. (3) Oberebnetstr.11, 5073, Gipf-Oberfrick, Switzerland
  4. (4) Forschungsinstitut für Biologischen Landbau, grid.424520.5
  5. (5) SPECTRALYS Innovation, BIOCITECH, 102 Avenue Gaston Roussel, 93230, Romainville, France
  6. (6) Agricultural Research Council, grid.423616.4
  7. (7) Vorhaldenstrasse 8, 8049, Zurich, Switzerland
  8. (8) University of Kassel, grid.5155.4
  9. (9) Marche Polytechnic University, grid.7010.6
  10. (10) Aoel e.V., Dr. Gartenhof Straße 4, 97769, Bad Brückenau, Germany









Quality traits are highly focused upon in the marketing of organic food products. There is a need to define and measure quality as consumers seem to have preconceived notions about the superior health value and taste of organic compared to non-organic products. A commonly held opinion among many consumer groups is that organic farming guarantees optimum quality, despite the fact that this remains unproven. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the complexity of quality traits in a plant-based food product, using carrots as an example. Selected designated quality aspects are presented to describe the complexity of quality and discuss the challenges of using these aspects in differentiating between organic and conventional products. The paper concludes we have insufficient tools to be able to adequately authenticate organically produced carrots. The same may be the case for most vegetables and fruit products. Suggestions for further studies include the soil and location aspect (terroir), in order to trace a product back to its origin in an organically or conventionally farmed field by finding a unique fingerprint for chemical constituents of samples.

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Times Cited: 3

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